The Sakura Illumination that took place at Charleston Park tonight was a truly magical experience.

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When I got there shortly before 8:00pm, it wasn’t dark yet. The lanterns were turned on and the two Tree Fairies performers were rehearsing their dance routine celebrating the arrival of spring.

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When the sun was set, the Tree Fairies, Cherri and Blossom, began their beautiful dance accompanied by mesmerizing music. Lights were projected over the white Ukon cherry blossoms.

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When the 10 minute dance routine was over, people were invited to wander around the cherry trees and take pictures of the lanterns.

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The light inside the lanterns changed from white, yellow, blue, green, red.  It was beautiful.

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The lanterns offered a unique view of Ukon cherry blossoms at night.

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After 20 minutes of admiring the lanterns and wandering under cherry blossoms, spectators were asked to return to the viewing area for the next dance performance by Cherri and Blossom.

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I moved to get a wide shot.  From the back row, even though you couldn’t see the dance performance, you could see the beautiful lanterns, the light show, and hear the music.

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The crowd at the performance was composed of families having picnics, friends, and lots of photographers.  The atmosphere was very friendly. There was about 200 spectators.

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Charleston Park is right next to the seawall. You could see the Granville bridge in the distance.

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Sakura Illumination was created by Stuart James W. from HFour.  I really liked how they allowed spectators to get up and wander under the trees between performances, making this a truly immersive experience.

‘Yozakura’ (cherry blossom viewing at night) has been done in Japan for many centuries. Seeing our beautiful Vancouver cherry blossom illuminated was a unique experience — made even more special by the fact that this year, Sakura Illumination was a ‘one-night only’ event.

Photo credit: Jessica Tremblay